WordPress is a free blogging platform that can be used as an easy content management system for running virtually any website. With countless themes and plugins available, it’s easy to customize a store built on WordPress with WooCommerce.
Price - 10/10
Ease of Use - 9/10
Support - 9/10
Features - 8/10
WooCommerce is a favorite among e-commerce developers and designers, as a result of the extensive features available from this robust platform.
Table of Contents
WordPress isn’t massively technical, and it is easy to find developers with expertise in setting up both WordPress and WooCommerce stores.
WooCommerce review: in a nutshell
- Under the hood, WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin. What this means is that you need to get WordPress first, and install it on your web server before you can get and install WooCommerce.
- WooCommerce is a complete e-commerce platform allowing you to launch an online store, set up payment processing and integrations, add your products, process orders, and ultimately let your customers buy whatever you might have on your offer.
- Lastly, to get full advantage of WooCommerce, you also need a WooCommerce-optimized theme/design. Such a design will make sure that your store looks good and works with no hiccups for all customers and on all devices.
Who’s WooCommerce best suited for?
Business owners that either already have a WordPress site running and want to add an e-commerce component to it, or business owners that are just starting out and plan on building a WordPress site anyway.
The pair of WordPress+WooCommerce is a very affordable choice, and also one that doesn’t stay behind other, more specialized e-commerce-only platforms.
WooCommerce is great for those familiar with WordPress, or for those keen to get a small store up and running quickly and at low cost. Compared to other free options, WooCommerce does have a lot to offer. However for those considering scale, WooCommerce and WordPress can quickly become limiting.
That being said, WooCommerce will be more useful for someone who either has WordPress experience under their belt, or employs someone who does. If you’re not very savvy in the web development realm, setting up a WooCommerce store all on your own can be difficult.
Features in WooCommerce
Here’s what you can find inside WooCommerce:
- Sell physical products, digital products, software, even affiliated products from a marketplace.
- Multiple payment gateways covered. (PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, FirstData, PayFast.)
- Flexible shipping settings (e.g. you can configure free shipping for some cases).
- Tax handling on sales, and automatic tax calculations.
- Add multiple products and product categories.
- Stock levels control.
- Geo-location support.
- Hundreds of free and paid WooCommerce extensions.
- You have full control over your data.
- Secure, audited code.
- You get everything that WordPress offers by default (since WooCommerce is a plugin).
WooCommerce review: pricing
In a word, the basic WooCommerce software is free.
However, there are side costs you need to consider:
- You need to have a WordPress site set up beforehand. WordPress hosting starts at around $5 / month and going up.
- You need to get a domain name for that WordPress site. Usually around $10 / year.
- If you want to integrate your WooCommerce store with additional payment gateways (above PayPal Standard), every integration is $79+.
- Finally, getting a quality design can cost you some more (although WooCommerce offers a nice free theme for your store – called Storefront).
The online store designs in WooCommerce
This is a tough one. WooCommerce doesn’t deliver any designs with it, per se.
However. The platform works with any WordPress theme you might already have (including the default themes, like Twenty Fifteen), and there are also custom themes built specifically for WooCommerce available. Some of them free, some paid.
For instance, the most optimized and popular design is called Storefront. It’s a purpose-made theme that integrates with WooCommerce seamlessly and gives you good customization options (including colors, fonts, layouts, etc.). There are also a number of child themes available for Storefront (designs that work on top of the standard Storefront theme, but deliver different looks).
Managing products in your WooCommerce store
Right after install, WooCommerce gives you a how-to guide on working with your store and managing your products. Each step of the tour takes you through the most important pages of your store, currency settings, shipping and tax, and payment settings.
After that, you get to add products via a standard WordPress editing panel. There, you can set everything starting from product name, to description, to price, to tax, and so on.
When it comes to online payments, WooCommerce offers built-in PayPal Standard integration. Above that, you need to invest in the extra integrations, e.g. for platforms like PayPal Pro, Stripe, Authorize.net, FirstData, and PayFast.
Review conclusion – is WooCommerce the right tool to launch your online store with?
Pros of WooCommerce
Free: One obvious advantage of WooCommerce is that the plugin is available for free, alongside WordPress which is also free of charge. That’s the beauty of open source resources like WordPress and WooCommerce – freely available, freely supported and tweaked and revised over time to deliver the optimum results.
WordPress: The WordPress ecosystem is ideal for building your site in a modular way, easy to adapt and tweak to your requirements as you see fit. Running on WordPress is an advantage for a number of website owners, specifically including those who are running smaller stores, which tend to be more likely to be built on the WordPress platform.
Coupon Codes & Email Marketing: WooCommerce has a number of features ready to go, out of the box. Coupon codes and email marketing are just two areas where WooCommerce comes into its own, allowing store owners greater command over on-page marketing and conversion strategies.
Cons of WooCommerce
Not as Comprehensive: When compared with Magento or other platforms, WooCommerce isn’t quite as feature-rich. For this reason, it tends to be used by those running small e-commerce stores, rather than more enterprise level players. That’s not to say it can’t be modified to suit your needs, but this will attract greater cost and hassle along the way, in terms of hiring developers.
Requires WordPress: While WordPress is a positive thing for many store owners, there are others who will want to move beyond WordPress as their content management system. WordPress can start to become sluggish with larger websites, and it can inexplicably fail and break from time to time – if a single plugin falls out of date with anything else, it can have problematic consequences right across your site.
May Require Premium Upgrades: Even if you do choose to proceed with WordPress and WooCommerce, you may end up searching for premium upgrades, in the form of paid plugins and templates that provide you with the additional functions you need.